Tuesday, January 14, 2014

40 Days of SPS ~ Day 2


Today I completed the reflection questions regarding the timeline I filled out yesterday. Actually wrote down my answers. And started bawling.

I value security. That is completely in line with my personality style. The thing that gives me security is being in control of my surroundings. I live in a very concrete world that I take in through my five senses. The things that are important to me are tradition, structure, order, peacefulness, safety, and beauty. Those are the very things that my spouse and oldest child resist (which is completely in line with their personality styles). And my younger three children are not compliant, orderly, peaceful children. (Yes, children can be trained to some degree, but those traits come more easily to some than others and some children are born to be world-shakers.) They have a direct affect on my immediate surroundings, and my five senses, overwhelmingly, which I can’t control. Which pulls security out from under my feet. Which sends me into a negative, emotional cycle of self-criticism and feelings of inadequacy. Because I can’t do well what I was created to do. And yet, my highest calling is to nurture my relationships with my husband and children. It is my current career, mission. And I spend almost every waking hour with them in a small space. But when I try to exercise my gifts, my closest relationships suffer. Which leads to more self-criticism and feelings of inadequacy. Which leaves me empty of emotional and physical energy—the tools I need to accomplish my daily tasks, which could help to lead me back to security and feelings of well-being, which in turn give me confidence and the ability to do bigger things outside the realm of my little, comfortable, controllable world. (Does that sound like an emotional roller-coaster to you? Yeah.)

I have no idea how to be ME in this space, in this time, while giving grace to my children and husband. I don’t know how to train my children while still respecting them as persons with personalities and needs of their own. How do I not resist the things that they need to be the people God made them to be? How do I train without nit-picking or being a control freak? How do I judge what is essential and what is my preference? How much do I sacrifice of myself in the service of my family? Is the beauty of a story in the sacrifice?

How do I let go of control? And still be functional? Still teach/guide/train my children?

I don’t know.

I do know that my security and my identity and my happiness should not be dependent upon other people. My husband and children are part of my story, but my story is not dependent upon them and I cannot write their stories.

This is all part of my story, unfolding. I suppose it is too much to ask for a resolution on Day 2. {wry grin}


SPS Notes: Day 2

Well, yesterday wasn’t a beautiful, grace-filled day so let’s begin again, shall we? That’s what it all comes down to. That we’re willing to start fresh with purpose each morning.

I had a rough time falling asleep last night even though I was exhausted. Maybe I should have read for a few minutes even though it was rather late. Nevertheless, one tap of the snooze and I was up by 6am this morning. Made bed, showered, began Bible study at 6:20.

Luke woke up before I got in the shower and I told him to go back to bed. Then he was up at 6:30. He said he wanted to get started on his morning tasks. So much for that uninterrupted quiet time…

Finished Bible study. Folded a batch of clothes. Prayed over my day. Clearly I need more grace in the parenting department.

Headed to my office to fill out day 2 of the SPS at 6:50. It was a little easier the second time around. The only thing I wrote under “If I Could Live Today Over Again” was that I wanted to have grace for my children. Because that is more important than productivity or creativity.

It’s really tough not to spend time on email or Facebook or article-reading or anything else computer-related.

Just getting started on my reflection questions, when it was time to wake the boys at 7:15. Clearly also going to have to figure out how to work that differently. And I was hungry. Grabbed a granola bar.

Just getting back into when Lola woke up at 7:30. Luckily she was cheerful, so I put her on the couch with a stack of books. Checked on Leif. He was still in bed, reading.

Put on Latin DVD for Leif and Lola @ 7:50. Finished negative turns. Got distracted by message from friend. Great Wolf Lodge Groupon. Emailed Russ. Replied to a couple messages online. Latin DVD on for Levi and Luke at 8:15.

8:30 Focused on kids and morning tasks. Cleaned up granola spill. Got Lola dressed. Directed children in tasks. Managed to be graceful. {grin}

10:00 Distance learning teacher came to interact with the boys. I tried to corral/manage Lola, not so successfully. She was really whiny/needy.

12ish Lunch, parenting, and internet surfing.

1:30 Lola was so fussy I got her down for a nap. It took a half hour, and I’ll be up late to pay for the afternoon peace.

2:00 The words of my epiphany started flowing, so chaos reigned in the house while I typed behind closed doors.

3:20  Summoned the physical and emotional energy to do more lessons with the boys while Lola was still sleeping.

4:30  Russ was headed out the door with Levi and Luke when he realized there was no swim practice today. Levi continued to work on lessons at home while Luke (who had finished his checklist like a boss) ran errands with Russ. I worked on my blog post, booked a much-needed short Great Wolf Lodge vacation for next month (wahoo!!!), and did other administrative tasks.

5:30  I think I am going to have some quiet reading time alone while a (frozen) lasagna is in the oven (yes, I’m leaning on easy meals this week) and the boys are watching Carmen Sandiego. Then we’ll have dinner, do clean up, go through the evening routine (lessons ready for tomorrow, house cleaned up, clothes out for tomorrow, etc.). The boys will be in bed by 8ish, but Lola will have a rough time going to sleep. I might try to read while keeping her company…


Some perspective that God sent my way this later this afternoon:

::  Ann Voskamp (on Facebook)

“Deep Breath:
In Christ — no matter the road, the storm, the story — we always know the outcome.
Our Savior: surrounds.
Our future: secure.
Our joy: certain.”

::  Brave Writer (on Facebook)

“There's a reason I didn't make a big splash into the homeschool curriculum world over the last decade: I was homeschooling.

I thought about that today. I homeschooled my kids. I wrote writing books on the side. I answered emails after I sang lullabies at bedtime or before the toddler pounced on my chest first thing in the morning. I didn't go to conventions lest I miss a soccer game or ballet performance. I didn't ask for speaking opportunities. I let them come to me and many times, turned them down. I haven't been available. I didn't want to BE available.”

And some “Living a Good Story” inspiration:

::  Tales of the New Creation @ The Rabbit Room. Go read the full text. So many thoughts in this post tie together threads that have accumulated in my recent readings and musings. I love Gilead, and the introductory quote was one of my favorites passages of the whole book. I have Flannery O’Connor and Tolkien on my reading list for this year. And The Drama of Scripture, which I’m reading in the mornings, is all about finding our place in the biblical story, an unwritten Act 5, Scene 2.

“Now—I’d like you to imagine that we are living, as Marilynne Robinson suggests, in Troy, within an epic poem. I want to suggest that the world, our world, is itself a work of art, and that our very lives are paintings and poems, frescos and songs, all founded on that which has come before us—all rooted firmly in tradition. The world we inhabit, right now, the rooms we sit in, the walls around us, the sunlight coming in through the window, this all makes up the great work of an age.

“…You see, we are standing every day in the presentness of a story, of an epic. It’s going on all around us. It’s full of characters major and minor, good and evil. It’s full of wars and miracles, love and hate, great beauty and terrible suffering, and it’s so big that none of us can comprehend its full measure.

“…We live in the present story built on the bones of the dead. And just as the hope of Abraham and Israel led to a new covenant in Christ, ushering in a new age of human history, so is our own hope, our own story, the foundation of a greater work yet untold. Because in this story, in our story, the Author isn’t dead, the Author hasn’t retired and turned in his pen. He’s got stories left to tell.”

::  The Heroic Journey 5: The Hero’s Inner Journey @ Write At Home

‘The Outer Journey is a clearly-defined, visible goal, a clearly-defined finish line — “I won,” or “We got married,” or “I saved the world.”

‘The Inner Journey is the journey of fulfillment. From fear to courage, from shyness to confidence, from rejection to acceptance — think of the family in The Incredibles, how each of them are different at the end of the movie, especially the daughter.

‘Heroes in the beginning of movies, in the World of the Common Day, are frequently defined by others, by external forces and situations – their parents, jobs, beliefs they’ve always carried about themselves. But by the end of the novel, they stand up and say “No, this is who I am. I define myself.”’


Unknown said...

What a beautiful and poignant struggle Heidi. Your heart comes through so clearly. You are being brave here, in clawing out reflection and fanning the flames of your full life. You are stronger, better, and more than you think. You think your character is too small, but she's not.

Marriage garden in Indore said...
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Danielle said...

The "I have no idea how to be me in this space" paragraph. . .yes! I very much understand that tension. I keep thinking, I could be so much better at life if you kids weren't jumping up and down on my last nerve.

Good stuff, keep it coming. :) Also, what Mindy said. :)

Hannah said...

It's brave of you to do this and share this, Heidi. Please know that much of it resonates. Thanks for being open, transparent, humble with us.